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Posts Tagged ‘carbonnade’

Belgium Revisited

In Drink, Food, Out of Town on May 17, 2011 at 10:00 am

Talking about the kriek and lambic beers the other day got me a little nostalgic for Belgium. My husband and I went to Brussels and Bruges for a week a couple years ago to research a story that ran last May in Bon Appétit magazine. I realize I never shared my pictures from that trip. Wish I could teleport myself back to a table at Viva M’Boma in Brussels, above—which means long live the grandmother—on this rainy day, and tuck into a dish of Carbonnades Flamande, sprinkled with gingery speculoos and Italian parsley, below:

Or hide out in the Fleur en Papier Doré for a few hours, Magritte’s favorite watering hole and one of my favorite bars on the planet. So romantic and Old World, and a great beer selection.

Or maybe I’d head off the beaten track to the Saint-Gilles neighborhood, and sneak down to the private basement cellar of Chez Moeder Lambic with owner Jean Hummler and taste our way through his stash of 300-some Belgian beers, what is arguably the best beer bar in the country. Here’s a look at the cellar:

And I loved the plate of local goat cheese with toasted barley that he served us. The perfect tangy counterpoint to a spicy glass of De Ranke XX Bitter.

Check back tomorrow and I will post pics of the chicest bed and breakfast in Bruges, where the husband nightly cooks up a superb dinner that rivals the country’s best restaurants. Now, is it too early to tuck into a pint of this?

Baby, You Got a Stew Goin’

In Food, Recipes on November 2, 2009 at 10:26 pm

carbonnade beef stew

Fans of Arrested Development and Carl Weathers will no doubt agree that it’s officially that time of year to get your stew on. The other day, I riffed on Carbonnade a la Flammande—a Belgian beer stew—using a recipe from The Jimtown Store Cookbook for inspiration. Theirs includes bacon for smokiness and parsnips and carrots for sweet depth of flavor. You won’t believe how fantastic the house smells while this bakes in the oven for hours on end.

Stout Beef Stew

Adapted from The Jimtown Store Cookbook

Serves 4

10 ounces slab bacon, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 lbs yellow onions, sliced 1/2-inch thick and separated into rings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

6-8 ounces stout (I used Guinness from a large bottle, and drank the remainder while cooking)

1 cup water

Leafy tops from rib of celery

3 springs fresh thyme

Bay leaf

8 whole black peppercorns

5 ounces red pearl onions, blanched and peeled

1 large carrot, chopped

2 parsnips, trimmed, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon, onions, olive oil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and caramelized, and bacon is browned (but not burned), about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer onions and bacon to bowl.

On a plate, mix together flower, pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Dredge half the beef cubes in seasoned flour; shake off excess. Cook beef in bacon drippings, turning occasionally until well-browned, about 7 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with onions and bacon. Repeat dredging and browning with remaining flour mixture and beef.

Return beef, bacon, onions, and any juices from bowl to casserole and set over medium heat. Add stout and 1 cup of water.

guinness stew

(Yes, I totally need a new manicure.) Wrap up celery leaves, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and peppercorns in a small cheesecloth bundle and tie with string.

thyme peppercorns

Add this to casserole. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and set in oven. Bake for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

Stir the pearl onions, carrots and parsnips into stew.

beef and parsnips

Continue to bake, covered, stirring every 30 minutes until the vegetables and meat are tender, about 3 hours, adding a splash more beer or water if stew is reducing too quickly. We enjoyed this rich, comforting stew over buttered egg noodles. It would also be killer spooned over mashed potatoes. And baby, you got a stew goin’!

beef stout stew